Capture Columbia, COR’s free talent retention program for students, returns

Capture Columbia graduate with COR board members

Capture Columbia graduate with COR board members

COLUMBIA, SC – Capture Columbia, a talent retention initiative powered by Columbia Opportunity Resource (COR) with support from Midlands Business Leadership Group (MBLG), returns this summer for its second year. Capture Columbia is a free program for college students who will intern or work in the greater Columbia region. The program consists of six events, providing opportunities to connect college-age students to the community and jumpstart their careers locally through building networks and community service efforts. Applications for the 2022 Capture Columbia class are open through May 23 and can be found on Capture Columbia’s webpage.

“We need programs like Capture Columbia that help these students establish the roots of their career here in Columbia, a great place to work, live and raise a family,” says Lou Kennedy, owner and CEO of Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation and co-chair of the task force that launched Capture Columbia. “It is things like this that inspire more young professionals to tell the stories of their community, and that is what will draw more eyes to the opportunity we have right here in South Carolina.”

Capture Columbia’s inaugural year was led by MBLG and welcomed 75 students to five events throughout the summer of 2021.

“Last year WalletHub ranked Columbia fifth in the country as best places for recent college graduates to start careers. Our region is ready to grow, and talent retention remains a priority,” says James Bennett, area executive at First Citizens Bank and MBLG board chair. “We are pleased to see Capture Columbia grow in its second year and continue to ignite interest in kickstarting a life in Columbia.”

What to expect during the 2022 Capture Columbia program
From June 7-August 9 Capture Columbia will convene for networking, professional development and insider experiences at different locations across the greater Columbia region, in both Richland and Lexington counties. The events take place in the morning or afternoon with limited spillover into working hours.

June 7: Kickoff to Capture Columbia
Capture Columbia will kick off with a networking power session at Savage Craft Ale Works featuring a panel of community leaders. At the kickoff event, the participants will receive their passports for the program.

June 14: Behind the Scenes (BTS) with BullStreet and the Columbia Fireflies
Each event is infused with insider experiences — at this event, participants will enjoy a rooftop networking hour and an exclusive update on burgeoning developments within the BullStreet District. The evening will conclude with a Columbia Fireflies game.

June 28: Explore & Restore our Rivers
Participants will spend a morning with the Congaree Riverkeeper to learn how to access our rivers followed by an hour of service to clean the areas.

July 12: Morning on Main Street
Starting on Boyd Plaza, participants will split into smaller groups for a walking tour of the Main Street District, meeting business owners and exploring historic sites along the way.

July 26: Discovering #RealColumbiaSC Districts (new!)
New this year, Discovering #RealColumbiaSC Districts will take participants across the greater Columbia region to meet with community leaders who manage the entertainment districts. Students will have the opportunity to share ideas on how to improve the districts and “be the broker” for vacant openings in their neighborhood.

August 9: Capture Columbia Graduation
Great ideas and positive energy will fill the room at graduation as each group presents their ideas to city leaders, business owners and community power players. Students who participated in at least four events throughout the summer will be honored with a special commemoration at the graduation ceremony.

“Retaining educated talent is an integral aspect in the continued growth of our region,” says Ashley Elsey, COR Board Chair. “The more we share and celebrate the exciting opportunities that are here, the better. We invite all students who plan to intern or work in the Columbia region this summer to join us for Capture Columbia.”

How to participate in Capture Columbia
Any student participating in a summer internship, apprenticeship or working in the greater Columbia area can apply for Capture Columbia, now through May 23. Employers can also nominate applicants to participate through the application form. The program is free thanks to COR’s strategic partner Experience Columbia SC and annual partners Nephron Pharmaceuticals, Chernoff Newman and Free Times.

Capture Columbia is one of two talent retention initiatives of COR. The other, Crash Course Columbia is for professionals who are new to the region or new to the working world. It’s a day-and-a-half immersive experience driving passion for the region. The tours take place each spring and fall with the goal of building local champions who are connected to the community. Learn more about COR’s talent retention initiatives and other programming at

Connect with Capture Columbia
Instagram:@capturecolumbia | Facebook: @capturecolumbia

Connect with COR
Website: | Instagram:@our.cor | Facebook: @columbiaopportunityresource | LinkedIn: Columbia Opportunity Resource

About COR
Columbia Opportunity Resource helps professionals get plugged in to the community, connecting them to opportunities, experiences and diverse networks. Through programs like Table for Six and Crash Course Columbia, COR fosters local pride and boosts talent retention in the greater Columbia, S.C. region. COR is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

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